A Rugby army veteran will soon be in Africa using the skills she learned in peace and war to train female rangers fighting to protect endangered wildlife.
Aimée Nash will run a senior command leadership course for South Africa’s first all-woman anti-poaching unit, the Black Mambas, which operates on the edge of Kruger National Park.
The 29-year-old volunteer with not-for-profit group Veterans For Wildlife spent 10 years with the Royal Military Police, serving in Afghanistan, and is a Captain in a reserve unit.
“My background has been all about working with people and I find it really rewarding seeing people progress in their careers,” she said.
“I’m expecting the women of the Black Mambas to be very savvy in their own environment and in doing their jobs and I’m sure I will learn a lot from them.
“I’m looking forward to seeing what I can do to help them develop as a team and as leaders.”
In Afghanistan, Aimée was part of a mentoring and training group working with the Afghan Uniformed Police, including assisting with the first ever all-female police unit in the area where she served.
“Many of the men in that region were definitely not supportive of a female police unit.
“Every single day those women came across another obstacle or problem put in their path.
“The rewarding thing for me was working with them and showing the women that they needed to stick together, through adversity, no matter what hurdles they faced.”
Veterans For Wildlife volunteers offer specialist training, mentoring and advice; the organisation’s former military members are not involved in armed anti-poaching activities.
Chief executive Wesley Thomson believes Aimée brings a range of critical skills and up to date experience to the job.
“With her experience in Afghanistan and elsewhere with the British Army Aimée is ideally equipped to work with Black Mambas,” he said.
“These brave rangers are operating on the frontline in the fight to protect the rhino and other wildlife from poachers and Veterans for Wildlife is honoured to be able to help them do their jobs.”